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Local and State News

Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 5:20 p.m. MDT

  • VIRUS OUTBREAK-NEW MEXICO

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is pushing back against threats by President Donald Trump to withhold federal funds if public schools don't resume classroom studies. The Democratic governor said in a tweet Thursday that the president's threats will not change the state's science-driven approach to fighting the pandemic and that she will will do everything possible to maintain federal school funding. The state Public Education Department has issued guidance that requires schools to start the year in a hybrid learning mode with in-person attendance limited to half of classroom capacity, billing the plan as "a prudent and responsible process."

  • THREATENED OWL-RESTORATION PROJECTS

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Negotiations among environmentalists and state and federal officials in Arizona and New Mexico have resulted in a set of recommendations and other provisions that environmentalists say will help protect the threatened Mexican spotted owl. The Center for Biological Diversity says it's backing down from its threat to sue as a result. Forest officials called the understanding a "big step forward." The group in April threatened legal action, saying the federal government's piecemeal approach to forest restoration and thinning projects presented risks for the owl. A separate case that raised similar concerns by the group WildEarth Guardians is still pending.

  • TROUBLED NEW MEXICO CITY

LAS VEGAS, N.M. (AP) — The mayor of a troubled New Mexico city has named a new police chief days after telling the current top officer he would be replaced. The Las Vegas Optic reports Las Vegas, New Mexico, Mayor Louie Trujillo will appoint Adrian Crespin as the city's next police chief. Crespin is currently the head of security at New Mexico Highlands University and retired from the Las Vegas Police Department in 2015. Trujillo confirmed last week he told current Police Chief David Bibb he will be replaced. Since Juan Montaño retired as chief in 2018, the city has seen four acting chiefs.

  • NEW MEXICO STATE-WORKOUTS

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico State University says it will continue its temporary suspension of student-athlete workouts as it waits for more COVID-19 testing results. The university said this week the suspension will remain in effect after six student-athletes and a sports performance staff member tested positive for the virus last week. Additional tests have resulted in 135 negative cases, 20 positive cases, and seven others are still awaiting their results. The cases affect multiple sports. Workouts and other team activities will resume once medical personnel approves. 

  • NAVAJO NATION-FUNDING LINE VETO

GALLUP, N.M. (AP) — The president of the Navajo Nation has used line-item vetoes on two bills distributing funds from a federal coronavirus relief package. The Navajo Nation Council passed two bills calling for the use of $93.1 million and $42 million from the $600 million the tribe received from the federal government. President Jonathan Nez says he vetoed $73 million in expenditures because council members attempted to include what he called pet projects and frivolous spending. Council Speaker Seth Damon defended the council's intention to push legislation benefiting the nation's citizens. 

  • MUSIC-CANNONBALL ADDERLEY-RECORDING

RIO RANCHO, N.M. (AP) — A rare collection of previously unissued recordings by legendary jazz saxophonist Cannonball Adderley is becoming more accessible thanks to two small jazz labels. Vancouver, Canada-based Cellar Music Group's imprint Reel to Real and New York distributor la reserve records are scheduled Friday to release a digital version of Adderley performing at Seattle's Penthouse jazz club. "Cannonball Adderley's Swingin' in Seattle: Live at the Penthouse" features the jazz great's quintet captured live on radio in 1966 and 1967 over four performances. A previous version of the collection was released in 2018 on a limited vinyl edition.

  • TRUMP-HISPANICS

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has signed an executive order that creates a new advisory commission tasked with improving Hispanic Americans' access to economic and educational opportunities. The effort comes as the president hopes to win a bigger share of the Latino vote than he did four years ago. Trump used the event to highlight how his administration had boosted employment among Hispanics prior to the coronavirus pandemic. But his attempt to court Latino voters ahead of the November election is complicated by his efforts to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and his work to end legal protections for hundreds of thousands of immigrants brought to the United States as children. 

  • RACIAL INJUSTICE-NEW MEXICO

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's Democratic governor has signed legislation to require that police officers wear body cameras as a deterrent against excessive use of force. Signed Wednesday, the policing reforms apply to local and state law enforcement officers with the exception of tribal agencies. The state's Democrat-led legislature approved bill in June during a four-day special session. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham first called for the body camera requirements amid demonstrations set off by George Floyd's killing at the hands of Minneapolis police. A bill sponsor has invoked the death of Antonio Valenzuela at the hands of Las Cruces police officers in a video-recorded encounter in February that has led to charge of involuntary manslaughter against one officer.